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 A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!

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Joined : 2008-01-15
Posts : 10981
Age : 54
Location : Knoxville, TN

PostSubject: A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!   Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:52 am

A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!

ATVs are an invention that came into being by our desire to explore – no matter how rugged the terrain. However, they don’t float – with the exception of an Argo - and in our part of the world, there’s a lot of water. This need, at least in part, is the inspiration for the new Float Trailer I had a chance to test this summer.

The story of the Float Trailer starts a few years ago on the most Canadian of weekends, Victoria Day. Nick Maars and a group of his friends were off on their annual May 2-4 weekend fishing trip, outfitted with boats and also several ATVs. After unloading, Nick surveyed the line of trailers the group had parked, and the idea for Float Trailer was born.

Maars envisioned a boat that was its own trailer. A single unit, not two units, is what he wanted. He then took the idea one step further. This boat that was also a trailer would also carry cargo (like an ATV) over the road, water or both. In fact, the trailer could carry the ATV to a bush site – then the ATV could be hitched to the boat and be driven to the most remote lake – in turn, once the boat was launched, the ATV doesn’t need to be left behind – it just goes back on the boat.

“The more I thought about it “said Marrs” I considered how busy I am and owning a boat alone just didn’t make sense. I wouldn’t get enough use out of it.

But if I could also use it as a utility trailer then it started to look much more cost effective to me.”

What followed were several months of design work and a year invested in building a working prototype. What they ended up producing was a 14-foot, all-aluminum boat that was fitted with retractable wheels on both sides and a five-foot wide fold down ramp that would permit a full-size ATV to drive onto the boat.

Still, I’m a skeptic at heart, so I arranged to spend a week with the Float Trailer which has been selling in Canada for about a year now and has just recently received its US Certification. My test boat came equipped with a 30 hp Yamaha four-stroke outboard and had a license plate, and all the necessary waterproof lighting to make it legal for towing on the road as a trailer. But as a boat, it just looked like a floating brick to me. Undeniably, I could see the logic of the idea but what about the execution?

The trick to the Float Trailer (as the name implies) is that it is its own trailer. This is accomplished by the boat having two wheels
installed in its hull. These are independently operating plated wheels with E-Z lube hubs that use leaf springs and a swing arm to support the load. In the open position, the wheels are held at two fixed points that offer plenty of ground clearance. To retract the wheels, the operator cranks a handle that tightens a cable – relieving the load. Then a single lock pin is pulled freeing up one side of the leaf spring. Now the wheel can pivot on the swing arm. Cranking the winch in the opposite direction now raises the wheel into the hull.

Once the boat is backed into the water and its wheels raised, the last step in this transformation is to pull an aluminum door into place over each wheel opening. Sliding on a polyethylene track, this door is latched into place after it nests into slots on either side of the opening. This in effect, closes up the hull and the boat is now ready to go.

The Float Trailer is 14’-6” long and its beam is 6’-3”. Frankly, it’s an ugly duckling particularly when compared to so many esthetically pleasing fishing boats out there but as I used it, I came to understand that these dimensions were necessary for it to fulfill its other function of utility trailer. But, as it turned out, this broad beamed characteristic had another benefit: on-water stability. My two sons are the fishermen in our family and with both of them weighing in at around 250 lb, they have never been able to stand simultaneously in our 15-foot aluminum runabout that they grew up fishing from; let alone stand on the same side of any boat for that matter. This was the first thing they told me about after taking it out that first morning; in the Float Trailer they could walk, stand, even lean out – both on the same side – with the boat barely tilting. It was that stable – more like a swim platform than a boat they said. The height of the gunnels (almost 24”) also meant that they could easily perch anywhere along the edge – again without the boat tilting significantly.

The construction of the Float Trailer has everything to do with this trait. It’s relatively heavy (950 lb), being built with heavy gauge
marine grade aluminum plus having all its seams double welded. The wide six foot anti-slip aluminum floor sandwiches floatation foam between it and the hull. In essence, a double-hull which adds weight to the bottom of the boat. So, the deck hardly moves but that foam also adds to the floating ability of the boat – so much so that I experimented by dropping the bow ramp while out in the lake to see if it would take on water. It didn’t, even with two of us standing at the edge of the ramp the boat would not dip low enough to take on any water at all. Just a word of caution here though – tie the ramp handle off to a fixed on-board cleat as the ramp doesn’t float and will swing right under the boat.

Designed to take up to a 35hp outboard motor, the Float Trailer has very unique characteristics when underway. As I said before, consider a floating brick. With its flat bottom the key to getting speed out of this vessel is to get it up and planing. We found this was most easily accomplished with two people on board. One to drive the boat, the other to act as moveable ballast. As you can imagine with a fixed position on the outboard, the need to get the boat nose up or down for optimal planing falls to the passenger who can start out in the stern and then work his/her way forward as the boat gains speed. This was the best case scenario. This design obviously prefers calmer waters. I also spent a considerable amount of time on our river – it was here the Float Trailer seemed most at home – in flat water.

The Float Trailer will carry 1,000 lb of cargo – and that can be anything – even topsoil if need be. Some items like lumber can of course be loaded with the boat body in the raised position but if you want to roll something on, like an ATV, this is where the retractable wheels offer another advantage. Without having to unhook the Float Trailer from its tow vehicle, the wheels can be retracted and the body laid flat on the ground for the purposes of loading and unloading.

For More information on the Float Trailer (and dealer information)
Go to

Specifications: Float Trailer Model 1454

Length: 14’6” (4.4m)
Beam: 6’3” (1.9m)
Door opening: 54” (1.4m)
Height at transom: 20”
Hull construction: 0.125” marine grade aluminum
Dry weight: 950 lb (431 kg)
GVWR (on land): 1995 lb (907 kg)
Person capacity (on water): Six / 990 lb (695 kg)
Suspension: independent leaf spring
Engine rating: 35 hp max
Total capacity on water: 1529 lb* (695 kg) *includes, motor, persons
and gear
MSRP : $8499.00

2010 Ranger XP 800
PP Windshield F&B, EMP EXT Bumper, Warn 40XT, Kobalt Box, Backwoods Armor 2" Lift/Arched Forward A-Arms, ProArmor Doors, DJ Fab Heat Shield, KFI Front Hitch, UTV Tech Mud Guard & Grill Insert, Crow 4-point Harness, Hi Lift Jack, 27" Horns, SS108's, Garmin 76csx, IPOD 80GB w/Otter Box, ATV Trail Tunes Sounds, Dual Battery Setup,  2-way Radio, PWM Built Spare Tire/Gas Carrier, Diamond Back Top & Floor Mats, HID's, FlexSteel Seats

PWM's Pix

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Senior Member

Joined : 2009-05-26
Posts : 752
Age : 45
Location : Manchester, Tn.

PostSubject: Re: A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!   Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:10 pm

Diffinitely different....pretty neat, but different. think
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V.I.P Member

Joined : 2008-02-29
Posts : 1667
Age : 51
Location : Junction City, KY

PostSubject: Re: A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!   Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:03 pm

bet that boat doesn't trim out good roll
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Bald Eagle
CATVR Junkie

Joined : 2008-01-15
Posts : 3057
Age : 53
Location : Murvul

PostSubject: Re: A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!   Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:05 pm

Dang, and I was thinking about buying a pontoon and using it for this purpose for the Rhino.
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Senior Member

Joined : 2009-08-05
Posts : 135
Age : 31
Location : Westel Tn

PostSubject: Re: A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!   Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:55 pm

hey i could use that to ride wats bar lake lol thats really cool
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Jug Head
TCM Race Team

Joined : 2008-01-16
Posts : 617
Age : 40

PostSubject: Re: A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!   Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:05 pm

Guys use pontoon boats around here they take the front rails off and can fit 2 atvs side by side. The army core has some cool islands you can hunt to the tenn-tombigbe water way.
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Joined : 2008-02-01
Posts : 4111
Age : 49

PostSubject: Re: A Boat That's an ATV Trailer!   Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:41 am

Alot of these in Alaska that ive seen
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